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Woods wins bronze in gruelling marathon

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Shelly Woods
Shelly Woods

Shelly Woods ensured the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team ended Assen 2006 on another high note by winning a marathon bronze medal this afternoon (Sunday).

The 20-year-old took third place in the women’s T54 marathon, fought out in Assen over a tough course in windy conditions and 22 degrees Centrigrade heat.

Her success ensured the GB team ended the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships with nine gold medals, nine silvers and nine bronzes.

Woods (British Wheelchair Racing Association) dropped off the back of the leading three wheelchair racers in a fast first 10k. But when Swiss racer Edith Hunkeler was involved in a crash, she seized her opportunity, taking third place. Once there the Blackpool-based athlete was determined to bring home the medal.

“It was really hurting,” she said. “The first 10k was so fast. We went through it in 22 and a half minutes, which for the girls is like lightning. The pace was hard.

“They attacked on the bends and hills,” she added. “I was dropped after about 10k and a gap of about 200m opened up. The gap stayed pretty much the same for much of the race, I just couldn’t close it.

“I knew I was in fourth place and I was trying to push hard to get a fast time,” she added. “Getting bronze is great.”

Gold went to Canada’s Diane Roy, while Swiss racer Sandra Graf-Mittelholzer took silver.

Britain’s other competitors in the marathons on the final day of Assen 2006 – Bob Matthews (T11), Brian Alldis, Kenny Herriot and Tushar Patel (all T54) – missed out on the medals.

 

Tushar Patel was Britain’s highest placed finisher in the men’s T54 marathon. He crossed the line 15th in 1:34.46 – six and half minutes behind Australia’s gold medallist Kurt Fearnley. "It was a tough course with a lot of head wind in places," said Patel. "I didn’t have a lot left in the last mile." Kenny Herriot came home in 28th place in 1:40.11.

 

Despite the searing heat Brian Alldis took more than three minutes off his personal best to finish in 36th place in 1:44.18 in the T54 marathon. "It was a very bendy course that was very tough into the headwind. I’m knackered now," he said after crossing the finish line.

 

"This was the toughest marathon I’ve done by a long way, but I’ve done it and taken three minutes off my personal best, even though I stopped for a drink," he added. "I’m pleased with that."

Bob Matthews put in a good performance, but finished just outside the medals in fourth in the men’s T11 marathon. The 45-year-old got set off at a steady pace but then overtook many of his rivals as they felt the pace. He clocked a time of 3:11.33, with victory going to Japan’s Yuichi Takahashi in a championships best 2:45.21.



Final GB Assen 2006 Medal Tally
 
Gold
Bev Jones – F37 shot (day one – Sunday 3rd September)
David Gale – F51 discus (day one – Sunday 3rd September)
David Weir – T54 400m (day three – Tuesday 5th September)
Daniel Greaves – F44 discus (day three – Tuesday 5th September)
David Weir – T54 1500m (day four – Wednesday 6th September)
David Weir – T54 100m (day five – Thursday 7th September)
Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson – T53 200m (day five – Thursday 7th September)
Stephen Miller – F32/51 club 200m (day six – Friday 8th September)
Danny Crates – T46 800m (day seven – Saturday 9th September)


Total gold: 9

Silver
Daniel West – F33/34 discus (day one – Sunday 3rd September)
Graeme Ballard – T36 100m (day two – Monday 4th September)
Elizabeth Clegg – T12 200m (day three – Tuesday 5th September)
Tracey Hinton – T12 800m (day three – Tuesday 5th September)
Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson T53 800m (day 4 – Wednesday 6th September)
Daniel West – F34 shot (day five – Thursday 7th September)
Ken Churchill – F37 javelin (day six – Friday 8th September)
David Weir – F54 200m (day seven – Saturday 9th September)
John McFall – T42 100m (day seven – Saturday 9th September)


Total silver: 9


Bronze

Kim Minett – F40 shot (day one – Sunday 3rd September)
Hazel Simpson – T36 200m (day two – Monday 4th September)
John McFall – T42 200m (day three – Tuesday 5th September)
Ben Rushgrove – T36 200m (day four – Wednesday 6th September)
Sally Reddin – F54 shot (day six – Friday 8th September)
Tracey Hinton – T12 400m (day six – Friday 8th September)
Stephen Payton – T38 400m (day seven – Saturday 9th September)
Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson – T53 400m (day seven – Saturday 9th September)
Shelly Woods – T54 marathon (day eight – Sunday 10th September)

Total bronze: 9

Final GB team total:  27